Is 1080 Responsible For Sick Cat, Dead Birds, Kaikorai Valley Dunedin

Environment And Health At Risk

1080 is, I am sure, threatening our health, the health of animals, and also the very birds it is meant to be protecting.  It is getting into our waterways, which will kill fish and the life which fish are dependent on for food.  This contaminated drinking water will be a danger to our own health too.  As well as 1080, we have toxic herbicides, such as glyphosate in RoundUp, being sprayed vociferously about the country roads and city parks and reserves.  These poisons also end up in the waterways and affect our health.

Today is Sunday, 29th October, 2017.  I live nearby the Kaikorai Valley Reserve, in Dunedin.  My house is about 15 metres from the reserve. Yesterday, I saw a dead duck lying in a drain by the roadway which runs alongside the Kaikorai Reserve.  The day before that, on Friday, I saw a dead seagull lying on the grass in the park adjacent to the Kaikorai Valley Reserve.  I wonder if 1080 is the cause of these birds dying, and the cause of sudden debilitation in health recently.

It is interesting to me that the Kaikorai Reserve has been closed off to the public for quite a few weeks now.  No sign was up, but some orange netting has been blocking the entranceway.  I also find it interesting that during this time, a neighbour of mine who lives even closer to the reserve than me, had an emergency visit to hospital.  He said he felt ill and had a very flushed face.  But no heart pain.  The hospital told him he was having a heart attack, and put a stent into his heart while he was there.  Perhaps he did have a weak heart, but his condition would have undoubtedly been made worse by what I suspect was 1080 next door.

Earlier this year, sometime in January, I came across a kereru – native wood pigeon – which had died on the footpath, only 30 yards or so up from the entrance to the Kaikorai walkway. It was still fresh, and a wild cat was eating out the flesh of the belly. It is possible that the feral cat had killed the pigeon as it sat above on the overhanging branch of a tree, but it is also possible that this bird had been poisoned by 1080 before the cat got to it.

About three years ago, in Te Aroha, I walked with a friend a good way up Te Aroha mountain, which is in the Waikato. A notice was at the bottom of the hill, announcing that 1080 had been dropped, and this advised that one should not take a dog into the area.  We got half way up the mountain in complete silence.  Not one bird to be seen, and not one bird sound.  We were about an hour or two doing the walk, and no birds were to be seen the whole time.

My neighbour tells me that the council have been dropping a lot of 1080 around Dunedin’s parks and reserves.  All I can find about recent 1080 drops around Dunedin is this article:

Silverstream Pest Control – Dunedin City Council › Facilities › Walking tracks

Aug 17, 2017 – The Dunedin City Council has agreed to a request from OSPRI to undertake a pest control operation using 1080 on council land in the …

On the 10th October, 2017, which I remember well, because it was my grandson’s birthday, we all felt ill at my family’s house.  They live at Sawyer’s Bay, which has a good-size reserve and water-catchment area at the top of the hill.  I suspect that the cause of their sickness was because the 1080 pesticide was dropped here too.

On the previous Saturday, 7th October, 2017, I had felt so ill I was having doubts about going to the birthday party, thinking I might have to have a visit to hospital for life support. That day my neighbour’s cat, a very healthy, young, gregarious male, vomitted up his food at my house.  He did the same thing on the following day, and again, vomitted up his food on the third day in a row.  He has never ever been ill during the time I have been here – 1 1/2 years.  He was ill at the very same time, on the very same days when I felt sudden nausea and thought I would collapse because of some unknown toxic poisoning.  My daughter and my grandson were also feeling very ill at the same time.

Earlier in the year, on New Year’s Eve, I had a similar experience of weakness which was combined with memory loss.  I had seen workers spraying herbicide along the motorway as I travelled on the bus to Mosgiel and back.  On that occasion, my neighbour called the ambulance to take me to hospital.  Many tests were done, and they declared that nothing was wrong with me physically.  A brain scan was done also, and that showed nothing wrong other than the slight deterioration which comes with age. After this sudden episode of debilitation,  I discovered that all the country roads in the surrounding district had been sprayed with toxic herbicide.  I assumed it was RoundUp, which the World Health Organization now suspect as a major cause of cancer, but I think the council’s contractors have changed the type of spray being used.  It is no better for the health, though, than the more common RoundUp.

1080 is yet another poison which is being used widely in our environment, to the detriment of health of all living creatures.  Many of my friends and school-mates have died in recent years, mostly of cancer, before reaching 65. Life expectancy is lessening in New Zealand for even well-off people, mainly because of the poisons in our air, food and water.

Good Ecology And Conservation And BioLists

Our Global Environment

This article is to introduce you to Dr Cedric Woods, PhD, and his BioLists and NatureWise websites.

Today is St Patrick’s Day, 2017, and a wonderful sunny day it is too, here in Dunedin.

I decided to take a bus trip to Portobello, out on the Peninsula.  This is a gorgeous drive along the sea shore, which reminds me very much of Waiheke Island in all its former glory, before the island got vamped up by the greater Auckland Council, and was almost denuded of all its roadside plants and healthful weeds.

Kerbsides all over the country, and around the world, are so often sprayed heavily with what I guess is RoundUp/glyphosate, which is mainly to blame for the disappearance of many old garden plants and valuable weeds. This poison has been declared as ‘a probable cause of cancer’ by WHO, World Health Organization.

I believe that Waiheke is not currently using glyphosate/RoundUp on kerbsides, but nevertheless, much of Waiheke’s former beauty has been lost with the commercialization of Waiheke as a tourist destination.

These days, native plants are everywhere in abundance on Waiheke, which is a good thing, but these do not have the wonderful colour and variations of size and texture which we had before, and all the self-sown fruit trees which grew along the roadsides have been plucked out.

A good thing to be planting natives, but these have no colour except green and brown.  And so we also need the loveliness of things such as flowering magnolias, camelias, rhododendrons, oak, beech, silver birch, and fruiting trees to colour up the green and brown gardenscapes which New Zealand councils seem to be encouraging everywhere.

Anyhow, today’s was a lovely trip.  At Portobello, nature is abundant, with many varieties of English trees and exotics still to be found, growing in gardens and on the roadsides.

I bought a very nice pie for $4.00, which I had time to eat by the sea-shore, seagulls and sand all steaming in the sun, before the bus headed back to Dunedin.

On the way home, I met a very interesting Irish gentleman, a Mr Cedric Woods, PhD, who was on his way to join his wife in town, where they planned to celebrate St Patrick’s day in the traditional  way. We very soon began to talk enthusiastically about the state of the world and what we could do about it.  We both thought Angela Merkel is on the right track, leading Europe and the rest of the world at the moment, in terms of conservation and political, or social and humanitarian issues.

Mr Cedric Woods is a scientist who has the website  Cedric has worked in Libya, in Ireland, and many other places around the world.

He also has a site called [email protected]

I was so impressed by Cedric’s world-view, humanitarian approach to life and environment, I promised to put up a wee post about him and his work today, so that people may find his sites and hear what he has to say.  He has some interesting and sound ideas on how to fix many of the worls’s problems.

Mr Wood’s card reads ‘Today’s good Taxonomy is tomorrow’s good Ecology and Conservation’. I have not yet had time to explore his websites, but he apparently has listed every known plant on his BioLists website.


Chocolate Brownie Recipe Which Hedgehogs And Children Love

Chocolate Brownie Recipe, Guaranteed To Attract Hedgehogs Into Your Garden

My Grandchildren love these Chocolate Brownie cookies as well:

3/4 cup butter

1 cup white sugar

2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar

3/4 cup S.R.flour

5 Tablespoons Cocoa powder

2 free-range eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup chopped nuts or peanut butter

2 Tablespoons of yellow cornmeal
2 Tablespoons of shredded coconut

Melt the butter a little and add the sugar and cocoa powder.

Add the eggs, peanuts or peanut butter, and vanilla – stir in well.

Add the eggs and vanilla – stir in well.

Add the flour and cornmeal.

Mix altogether.

Grease an oven tray with butter or oil.

Make balls of the dough, and flatten out with fingers or a fork on the tray. You may need to sprinkle some cornmeal or flour over the dough so that the dough does not stick to your fingers when you form the balls.

Bake at 180 degrees C for around 10 minutes.  Turn down the oven after about 5 minutes so they do not burn. You can tell when they are cooked, as the most delicious cookie aroma will permeate the air when they are ready.

When you bring out the tray, slide a fish slice or spatula under each cookie, and put on a wire tray to cool.

Once properly cooled, you can put them into a glass jar with screwtop lid, or an air-tight plastic container.


Hedgehogs Are Endangered In New Zealand

Hedgehogs are a wonderful asset to any garden, in my opinion.  They eat all the slugs and snails which would otherwise eat your vegetables and delicate flowers.

In the United Kingdom, environmentalists are working to save the hedgehog, whose forraging areas are rapidly being depleted, with people culling out gardens and having walls built around their properties which do not allow hedgehogs to visit. The poor hedgehog is having a rough time of it, with fewer good places to live and forage for food.

In the UK, the protectors of hedgehogs are encouraging people to grow hedges, and make little holes in walls and fences where hedgehogs can enter into the garden.

I am sure the UK people will be promoting organic gardening without the use of toxic pesticides and herbicides which have the potential to kill or sicken hedgehogs, birds, cats and dogs. Snail and slug poison is especially bad for hedgehogs, and birds too.

I heard a radio announcer talking on Radio NZ recently, who said that hedgehogs were NOT friends of ours, because of their threat to NZ wildlife, and especially to the Kiwi, the highly prized national icon.  A ridiculous and short-sighted view, I think.

It has been decided by MAF in New Zealand that hedghogs, as well as cats and dogs, present a threat to Kiwi.  Because they might eat the odd Kiwi egg, it has been decided to kill every hedgehog in New Zealand.

Then the discussion on hedgehogs in New Zealand drew in a scientist/researcher from Massey University, who said that DOGS are the biggest threat of all to Kiwi in New Zealand. Do we want to kill dogs because of their threat to wildlife?

MAF are not interested in destroying every dog in New Zealand, though dogs be the biggest threat to Kiwi, but they want to destroy every living hedgehog.  It just does not make sense.

Well, I have been looking after the hedgehogs in my area for a while now.  I have discovered their very favourite food:  Chocolate Brownies. They can smell the rich chocolate of my chocolate brownies from way down the road, which literally gets them running towards my place, and the big fry-pan which I put their food into.

See Merrilyn’s song ‘Marianne, Let Us Be’ on Youtube:




Danger Of NZ Sun On Health In Time Of Global Warming

Sunstroke From Sun

Lack of Ozone and Global Warming is causing health problems.

Summers are now hotter than ever, and the sun’s rays more damaging.

For the past three years, at some time during the period from Christmas time to late February, I have suffered serious sun-stroke, several times each season, with debilitating effects.

Gone are the days of lying about near-naked in the sun, or playing tennis in our latest bikini-top, as we were want to do in the days of our youth.

For many of us, swimming attire for the public eye lost its appeal many moons ago.

However, we are not safe from the sun’s radiation just because we do not sunbathe anymore.

Seriously, the New Zealand sun in summer is now very much to be avoided.

Dehydration Fever And Headaches From Sun

I personally have become so sensitive to the summer sun that I cannot garden during the day-time, or undertake any other activity where I am exposed to the sun for longer than about 15 minutes at a time.

Perhaps I am more vulnerable to the negative effects of the sun because I do not have a car and consequently walk everywhere to do my shopping and business.

If I do spend longer time outside, then a pounding headache and fever will plague me for about three days, during which time I am completely incapacitated.

The temperature is very difficult to stabilize after sun exposure of even an hour or two in the early morning, well before the sun has heated everything up.

Homeopathic Arsen alb and Arnica have proven to be the best remedies for the heat stroke and sunstroke I have suffered.  I used these every 15 minutes or so whilst necessary. Keeping a wet towel over the head and forehead was very helpful in producing comfort by reducing the temperature a little.  Sipping cold water at regular internals is essential.  In the worst case scenario, cold water enemas stopped the temperature from soaring to dangerous levels and remedied dehydration.

Because of severely depleted ozone in the atmosphere, which should protect us against harmful energies emitted by the sun and cosmic forces, we are now being zapped by these extremely destructive forces.  These unknown forces are seriously putting our health at risk.

I am not alone in this dilemma.  I know many other people my age who say they are experiencing the same thing.  Even one of the local posties, who is a lot younger than myself, had to take time off recently because of sun-stroke.

Weather Forecast Temperatures Are Not Accurate

Interesting that the temperatures in our town are sometimes up to 10 degrees hotter than what our weather forecasts predict.

Our town is south of Auckland by about an hour and a half’s drive.  Yet our temperatures during summer are far hotter than those forecast for Auckland, and far hotter than what is predicted for our Waikato area.

We are hotter than Auckland because we are inland and do not enjoy those eternal sea breezes which most parts of Auckland experience.  We are also a farming region where many agricultural chemicals are used.  Many of these poisons have ozone-destroying potential.

And we are hotter than predictions for Waikato, because temperatures are taken miles away from our town, at Hamilton airport, which is a windy part of the region.

A few days ago we were told we would have temperatures of around 26 degrees.  We got 37 degrees.  Two days ago it was meant to be 30 degrees.  We were 41 degrees at noon. A ten minute walk to the shops with broad-brimmed hat and umbrella almost suffocated me with heat.. I put my thermometer out on the deck concrete and the needle soared beyond the last reading at 50 degrees within minutes.  Inside, it settled down at 41 degrees.  That evening it was 27

Years ago, when talk of climate change and global warming first hit the headlines, we used to joke about moving from Auckland in the North Island to Dunedin in South Island New Zealand, to escape the effects of climate change. Dunedin gets about two thirds of Auckland’s sunshine hours and has more moderate summer temperatures.

I am considering moving down there.  Winters are a bit bleak, with few sunshine hours and much drizzly weather. But the possibility of enjoying summer outside under a kindly, hopefully more  pallid sun seems very appealing right now.

My new book is available on Amazon:

Fragrant Organic Gardens For Birds, Bees, Beauty And Medicine

Organic Gardening

Plant plenty of Bee-Friendly herbs to feed the bees a healthy diet.  Bee Colony Collapse Disorder can be prevented by avoiding the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides, and by planting herbs which contain natural medicines.

And keep some of those wonderful weeds such as Dandelion and Prunella Vulgaris, commonly called Self-Heal.  Bees love these plants, and they are so good for the soil.

We are losing our traditional cottage garden flowers and healing weeds.  So make an effort to keep our valuable healing plants by planting them in your garden, and letting some of those weeds grow too.

Less than twenty years ago, on Waiheke Island in New Zealand, many medicinal “weeds” such as dandelions, plantain, self-heal, comfrey, thistles, red clover, and hundreds of other useful and beautiful plants abounded, as well as self-sown peach and apple trees and goodness knows what else.

The keeping of cottage gardens helped keep the strains of the then-common weeds from becoming extinct, as well as many flower and shrub species which sadly now are quite rare to see.

There was always a nook and cranny to be found, amongst the incredible variety of flowers nurtured in the cottage garden, for the likes of a rogue thistle, or a hypericum seedling, to settle in for a bit.  We never used herbicide sprays or anything toxic in our gardens. Birds and bees, and beloved snails too, loved our gardens.

Our cottage gardens were the nurseries, not just of decorative annuals, rare shrubs and trees, but of medicinal weeds, many of which actually, and naturally, serve as medicines for the bees and surrounding plants.

Merrilyn’s new book is available on Amazon:

All weeds have their purpose in the big scheme of things.  Many actually enhance the quality of the soil, whilst helping other plants to grow.

Many cottage plants and so-called weeds, such as the feverfew daisy, lavender, and geraniums, help keep insects at bay. Some plants have the potential to cure the most common health ailments pertaining to man and his husbandry.

There was nothing more exciting for us nature lovers than to explore a cottage garden with friends and to find and try to identify the more rare plants, including the useful weeds: these had more than a small chance of surviving just long enough, in most people’s gardens, to proliferate somewhere else before being pulled out.

Our gardens were not only a paradise for the birds and bees, but a feast for our eyes.  The cottage garden flourished during the last few decades of the 1900’s, especially on Waiheke Island and in similar small villages around the country: but even in some suburbs of Auckland, such as Epsom and Mount Eden, many beautiful gardens have survived until fairly recently.

Alas, the original owners who tended these gardens have aged themselves. Many of their houses have been sold to a new generation who do not have an appreciation, or knowledge, of gardening. Land is expensive, and so gardens are dwindling to make room for new building developments.

Many newcomers to these areas, which previously were adorned with beautiful gardens, have come from other countries where, in their built-up cities, gardens like our cottage gardens simply do not exist, so there lacks an appreciation for the New-Zealand-style garden where a great array of plants are given a go.

Consequently, many gardens, such as in Epsom, Auckland, are rapidly being chopped out and their grand trees felled to have a concrete car-park laid, or a garage built, in their place.

Sometimes, of course, trees do have to be felled, and sheds built. However, it is sad to see the unnecessary ruination of an entire garden, when all that appears after its disappearance  is a stretch of concrete, or a stretch of concrete and a few palms.

Many younger Kiwi people also do not seem to care for our old gardens: they tend to go for some kind of Bahama-Island tourist-resort-inspired garden design which looks  like you live somewhere else. They feature plenty of slickly-laid pale-colored concretes, with just a few lonely exotic palms, a token native or two, and cacti, dotted about.

We are not fooled, and nor are the birds or the bees – this type of garden lay-out is for the lazy, so that no time needs to be spent weeding, or for the insensitive who can’t tell the difference, or just don’t care.  These gardens are entirely joyless. No life is permitted to exist there except for the token natives and the stark palms and cacti.

The concrete, the plastic sheeting underneath the stones, and the tree bark on the ground, puts paid to any weeds growing. This means that there are no insects for birds to eat. No room for a hedgehog, moth, butterfly, or a bee.

By comparison, the Waiheke Island of yester-year was a euphoric utopia. The many hedgerows along the rarely-sprayed stony tracks which we called roads, were home to insects, birds and bees. Wild climbing roses gave heart and soul to the place, intertwined betwixt and between the manuka, or a self-sown plum tree, or an old fence at the edge of a garden, enjoyed by all as we passed by, on our way to the beach. Or the shop. Or the ferry.

If you did not have it in your garden, there was usually some of what you needed to use for medicinal purposes, or simply for the eating, just down the road, growing on the roadside where today the concrete paths and road tarmac have ‘taken over’ the former habitat of this island-jungle-paradise.

On Waiheke Island, we had a variety of self-sown fruit trees: plums, apples, pears, peaches, quinces – and  grapes. Sometimes you would discover a patch of wild potatoes, or taro, hidden beneath the kikuyu, just waiting for the taking. Or squash. Or wild yams. Or yellow-flowering JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES, standing robust and tall above the weeds like a  “can-do” cousin of the more proud, but less hardy, sunflower.

Many of these edible plants, at a guess, probably survived from the days when Maori cultivated big gardens on Waiheke. These Waiheke gardens were, a hundred years or so ago, the market gardens which fed much of Auckland. This is why you could still find, in the ’70’s ’80’s and ’90’s, some very unusual kinds of potatoes and other root vegetables growing on unused banks and braes.

So many other treasures were to be found growing beside the dusty, curly, shingle roads of our island: There were flowers for the table: Dad bringing in the white-and-pink jasmine in the early spring with a sweetness which graced the whole house, and our hearts, and later, tall fantastic spikes of exotic, heady, sweet-smelling, sunny ginger plant celebrating the height of the summer.

Unfortunately, much of this vegetation has been lost. The regular spraying of herbicides on grass verges has killed off many decorative plants, as well as medicinal, herbaceous weeds. Comfrey and ginger plant have been named noxious weeds.

Few people keep cottage gardens any more. Many of us would-be gardeners do not own a property where we can plant all the things we love.

Keep the trees if you can.  If you must chop down a tree, plant another one or two somewhere else. Remember – Bird-life is dependent upon insects for eating, and trees to live in. Without these things, birds perish.

Small plants such as dandelions, plantains and other weeds have a part to play in the food chain, not just for bird and insect life, but for man too: for healthy agriculture, for honey bees, and for use as natural medicines as well. They can’t grow on concrete. They CAN grow in the cottage garden, and along grassy, unsprayed verges.

Nowadays,a dandelion plant is extremely hard to find, even in a field of grass, and if you should find one, you can’t be sure that it hasn’t been sprayed with a toxic chemical, so you had better not eat it.  In the country, agriculture chemicals, and the selected, commercial mixes of grass-seed which farmers(and house-holders) use, have just about eradicated the beneficial weeds from our environment. Many plants are almost extinct: plantain, nettles, water-cress,dandelions, to name just a few.

Urbanized Waiheke has lost most of its former charm. Many big trees,and all the self-sown fruit trees, have all disappeared from the road-side and the bush. The scrub and hedgerows where birds, hedgehogs, insects, and natural plant life thrived, have been cleared. Much planting of native trees and flaxes has been done in certain areas, however, there is a lack of colour and variety in these plantings.

It is rare to see  large trees such as an oak, or a birch, an aspen, a magnolia or a flowering cherry newly planted in public areas. And the ground is often covered with wood chips which renders it redundant as a food source for birds.

About all you can find growing wild abundantly now, on Waiheke Island, is a hardy variety of silver beet which has adapted to survive the salt of the sea at the water’s edge. Very clever, to escape the watchful, merciless eyes of the city council planners who employ the concrete-layers,weeders and spray-people to keep away such up-starts. It grows along the water’s edge in the virtually inaccessable parts of Surfdale and Blackpool.

You can still find wild valerian here too, although you have to look hard for it amongst the kikuyu grass now.

Just how, in New Zealand, can we revive our dwindling species of trees, plants, insects, and birds? Bringing back the cottage garden would help enormously. Having areas in cities and in the country where things are allowed to grow naturally without the use of any chemical sprays, or unnatural ground coverings which prohibit weeds from growing, would be another solution.

Councils could declare that so much of a householder’s property should be taken up with several trees and garden plants.  Trees and hedgerows could line the sides of all our roads: Big trees, fruiting trees, and small trees, not just the smaller, ever-green natives being planted about the city at the moment.

We need colour to gladden our hearts: some real flowers, or flowering trees such as magnolias, or flame trees. Not the mono-colored, ghastly mono-cultures of strange flaxes and grasses, planted in formation, such as Auckland City Council has planted around all their new bus stations. Disheartening and sickening, planted with the same idea, I guess, as some food chains have when making their interior design so barren and ugly that no body wants to stay there for long.

These joyless gardens prohibit anything else from growing as they are covered up with wood bark, so you don’t find any birds about these lonely, desolate spots. Like being on a west coast beach on a windy day. Why so barren? Trees- flowers-and weeds- should grow in these places perfectly well.  We need more gardeners.

The government could start a new programme to give people jobs – imagine thousands of gardeners working all over the country,and the city, say for 20 odd hours a week so that the job was always an enjoyable thing to do: Planting all the road-side areas with trees and flowers, and edible plants; keeping weeds from overtaking the gardens, but not eradicating them entirely. And time off for wet weather.

Chemical herbicides and insecticides could be banned forever. This will be the end to ‘Bee Colony Collapse Disorder’ and human cancers.

YES, WE WILL GROW MORE TREES, big trees, small trees, flowering trees, native trees, fruit trees too;  plant more gardens, anywhere and everywhere, wild yams and taro.  Let hedgerows flourish with their dandelions, honeysuckle, plaintain and wild roses, and make our world a better, happier place for all beings.